Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hormone acting as 'molecular glue' could boost plant immune systems

Date:
October 7, 2010
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
The discovery of a hormone acting like molecular glue could hold a key to bolstering plant immune systems and understanding how plants cope with environmental stress.

The discovery of a hormone acting like molecular glue could hold a key to bolstering plant immune systems and understanding how plants cope with environmental stress.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

The discovery of a hormone acting like molecular glue could hold a key to bolstering plant immune systems and understanding how plants cope with environmental stress.

The study, which is featured in the Oct. 6 issue of Nature, reveals how the plant hormone jasmonate binds two proteins together -- an emerging new concept in hormone biology and protein chemistry. The study also identifies the receptor's crystal structure to provide the first molecular view of how plants ward off attacks by insects and pathogens.

In short, the work explains how a highly dynamic form of plant immunity is triggered, said Gregg Howe, biochemistry and molecular biology professor, who worked with fellow MSU professor Sheng Yang He on the study. The study is a collaboration between the MSU-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory and the University of Washington.

"In many respects, this receptor is novel in how it binds its target hormone to switch on gene expression," Howe said. "Jasmonate appears to act as molecular glue that sticks two proteins together, which sets off a chain of events leading to the immune response. Determining the structure of the receptor solves a big missing piece of the puzzle."

Earlier research conducted by Howe and He helped to unveil the mechanism of action of jasmonate, the last major plant hormone to have its signaling pathway decoded. When a plant is attacked, the jasmonate signal causes direct interaction between a family of JAZ repressor proteins and the F-box protein COI1, which works to eliminate JAZ proteins so the plant can mount a defense.

Reconstructing the molecular mechanism of jasmonate perception revealed a multicomponent signaling hub. Instead of working as a single protein, which is typical of most receptors, this new receptor is actually a co-receptor complex that consists of COI1, JAZ and a newly discovered third component, inositol pentakisphosphate, Howe said.

Now that researchers understand the structure, they can design new hormone derivatives or other small molecules that can trigger a desired response. Such compounds could help to increase agricultural productivity by aiding plants in resisting bugs and diseases, he added.

The Nature study shows that plants and animals use fundamentally different mechanisms to perceive this type of fatty acid-derived hormone. Humans have prostaglandin hormones, which are structurally similar to jasmonates and also play a role in immune responses. So this study may hold potential benefits for humans as well.

"Plants offer a rich opportunity to understand basic biological processes that are relevant to human health," Howe said. "The new structural insight into jasmonate perception could have practical applications in medicine, including the design of drugs that stick two proteins together."

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy and supported by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Hormone acting as 'molecular glue' could boost plant immune systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006161639.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2010, October 7). Hormone acting as 'molecular glue' could boost plant immune systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006161639.htm
Michigan State University. "Hormone acting as 'molecular glue' could boost plant immune systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006161639.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins